On the Style Switching Behavior of Mutual Fund Managers



This paper develops an empirically testable model that is closely related to theoretical model for style switching behavior of Barberis and Shleifer (2003). We implement this model to examine the style switching behavior of US domestic equity mutual fund managers. Using monthly data for 2,044 mutual funds over the period 1961-2010, we find strong evidence for style switching behavior: on average nearly 53% of the funds in our sample engage in style switching. Overall, we find that growth funds tend to behave more as positive feedback (momentum) traders, whereas value funds tend to behave more as negative feedback (contrarian) traders. Linking the style switching behavior to fund characteristics, we typically find that funds that engage more aggressively in style switching tend to be younger and have higher total expense ratios. Linking the style switching behavior to risk-adjusted performance, we find no evidence of the ability of style switching to generate positive alpha.

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